We’ve all met those people who ‘work hard and play hard’ and seemingly without any noticeable repercussions. They appear unfazed by hangovers despite having just a few hours’ sleep before having to wake up early the following morning to resume daily life duties. But, although some may think they can function effectively while maintaining this attitude. Research has also shown that people suffering from a hangover indeed have decreased decision-making abilities, thus making it harder to switch between tasks and retain information.
GreenhouseTreatment.com, a leading provider of addiction treatment services, carried out a survey of 3,131 drinkers, which has revealed some concerning responses about those who consider themselves able to work hard and drink hard – a term known as being ‘Booze Fit’. This survey uncovered that almost half of Maryland drinkers (41%) consider themselves ‘booze fit’, compared to a national average of 48%. Men considered themselves more booze fit than women, on average.
The survey also found that 47% of those who work long hours said having an alcoholic drink at the end of the day helps them relax and take the edge off after a difficult day. With many continuing to work from home since the start of the pandemic, buying alcohol to keep in the house instead of going out for after-work drinks is not only a cheaper habit but makes alcohol more easily accessible when it’s just a few steps away. A separate survey broke down the number of money people were saving on average during lockdown by not going out for after-work drinks, and the overall savings amount was a startling $480 per person.
Worryingly, nearly 1 in 10 drinkers who consume alcohol regularly also believe that an increased alcohol tolerance strengthens their body, which may explain why so many consider themselves ‘booze fit.’ Indeed, on the contrary, research shows that when people ‘train’ their bodies by drinking alcohol (which is a sedative) regularly, their brain cells have to adapt in an effort to maintain the balance of homeostasis. The human body has a balance between natural uppers and downers, so if a person keeps taking a sedating substance, their body will react by trying to adapt and increase its own stimulation. Therefore, if a person consumes large quantities of alcohol, they can survive and stay awake because of this.
This might explain why almost 1 in 10 of those who have a ‘work hard, play hard attitude to life said they couldn’t do it as effectively without drinking alcohol, due to the side effect of being able to stay awake afterward and resume life duties. While this might not sound particularly negative, this behavior can also result in tremors and shakiness for those who regularly drink a lot; and if they stop, they may experience common withdrawal symptoms like trouble sleeping, even if they’re exhausted. The more tolerant a person’s body is, the more their brains adapt to try to maintain this upper-downer balance. This is in addition to the chemical effects of alcohol, such as its ability to increase cancer risks, liver disease, and high blood pressure – things that the body doesn’t gain tolerance towards.
Lastly, 35% of respondents who work high-pressure jobs with long hours think that colleagues who rely on drugs (such as stimulants) to stay alert are at an advantage in terms of work performance. Interestingly, of all substance users, around 68% are both employed and active in the workplace, meaning this type of drug abuse is more common than one may think. While some users may think drugs like cocaine increase their performance in the workplace, using drugs impairs both physical and decision-making abilities, which can be a deadly concoction on the job. In fact, 10-20% of American workers who die at work have a positive result when tested for drugs or alcohol.